Film Theaters Face Challenges After A 12 months Of Large Losses : NPR

Many individuals will watch motion pictures on an enormous display screen this summer season, however the pandemic essentially modified the business. How can film theaters survive and probably thrive post-pandemic?


Eighty p.c, that is the quantity film theaters have misplaced in ticket gross sales for the reason that starting of the pandemic. Now summer season blockbusters are again. However will the viewers return? Sally Herships and Stacey Vanek Smith from The Indicator inform us concerning the challenges the movie show business is going through.


SALLY HERSHIPS: One of many large, extremely anticipated motion pictures this summer season is “Black Widow.” It was supposed to come back out final spring, however, you understand, the pandemic. About 80 main releases like “Black Widow” had been held again. However at the least the film is right here now. And Scarlett Johansson performs a superhero within the Marvel Universe.


SCARLETT JOHANSSON: (As Black Widow) Earlier than I used to be an Avenger, I made errors and quite a lot of enemies.

STACEY VANEK SMITH: This film has all of it. You’ve got obtained KGB, Russia, helicopters, big explosions and, after all, Scarlett Johansson in, like, a patent leather-based cat swimsuit. What extra may an individual need, Sally?

HERSHIPS: (Laughter).

VANEK SMITH: In a traditional 12 months, a profitable Marvel movie can absorb tons of of hundreds of thousands of {dollars}, near a billion, even, on the field workplace. However even in a traditional 12 months, film theaters want greater than only one blockbuster to succeed. Patrick Corcoran is vice chairman of the Nationwide Affiliation of Theater Homeowners.

PATRICK CORCORAN: The very last thing we ever wish to do is say to an viewers, I am sorry, we do not have what you need right here.

HERSHIPS: That is one of many challenges theater homeowners face. They should cater to all these totally different teams. And quite a lot of these teams break down by age and the quantity of free time they’ve. And it begins with youngsters going to the films.

VANEK SMITH: You then get into your 20s. You continue to desire a social life. However possibly you are additionally going to highschool. You’ve got obtained payments, so that you go to the films much less. You then grow old, might need youngsters of your personal. And your ticket-buying may drop off much more. After which when your youngsters are sufficiently old, you may begin going again to the films once more, this time possibly to see Disney movies or kids’s motion pictures.

HERSHIPS: So theaters have this large downside. They’re consistently having to attempt to assess what totally different varieties of flicks they assume are going to lure in all of those totally different teams of theatergoers.

VANEK SMITH: The following particular problem the theater business faces is advertising.

CORCORAN: The advertising marketing campaign is the most important a part of that. It is very costly to market these motion pictures.

VANEK SMITH: And the pandemic actually messed that up as a result of not like different merchandise, a movie needs to be marketed on the identical time all over the place. I imply, it did not matter if Colorado wasn’t in lockdown and their theaters may very well be open. There have been no motion pictures for Colorado till most states and their theaters had been all open as properly. Manufacturing firms spend on advert area, on TV and social media, billboards, crimson carpet occasions, publicity.

HERSHIPS: And phrase of mouth. That may be a large a part of promoting tickets. If a film does properly within the States, you won’t should spend as a lot, like, in Italy. Phrase spreads. In order that’s why advertising marketing campaign for a movie needs to be completed unexpectedly.

VANEK SMITH: And as all these main releases deliberate for final 12 months began getting held again by studios, that created one other downside. As a result of in the event you’re a studio, and you’ve got simply dropped all of those hundreds of thousands of {dollars} making, like, “Black Widow” and in addition “Spider-Man: No Method Dwelling,” you do not need to danger cannibalizing your personal viewers. And that has precipitated much more delays and confusions. David Hancock is a movie business analyst at Omdia.

DAVID HANCOCK: So if one strikes, you have a tendency to seek out there is a little bit of a – type of a juggling round. So we now have to maneuver that. But when we transfer that, we have that one there. So we now have to maneuver that. It is a form of sophisticated recreation of chess, actually.

VANEK SMITH: However nonetheless, theaters must make it by this era. David says whenever you add within the losses from promoting and concessions, international theaters stand to lose about $50 billion over the subsequent 2 1/2 years.

Stacey Vanek Smith.

HERSHIPS: Sally Herships, NPR Information, New York.


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